When the week of Memorial Day rolls around every year you can be assured where you'll find me: The ACSM Annual Meeting. This year the conference was held in Orlando, Florida. While better known as home of famous theme parks and preferred destination of kids everywhere, the city hosted an absolutely awesome ACSM conference this year.
This year, I was representing the University of Wisconsin-Madison and presenting research. This did not take away from my usual underlying motive for attending the conference; which is to check out as many presentations as I can that deal with increasing the performance of endurance athletes.
Fortunately, this year I was also able to contribute to the body of performance research by presenting findings from a study I worked on last summer at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. This research dealt with using a beet supplement to increase performance in trained runners and cyclists.
I was able to present during a symposium with other researchers who were sharing their own beet research findings. A bit of serendipity occurred when I found out the professor who taught my first ever exercise science class (a class I took while studying abroad in London, England) was presenting first in the symposium. I'd certainly assert that life often times comes full circle at great conferences like the ACSM Annual Meeting.
Some of the other highlighted seminars, symposiums, and presentations I caught were:
- The 2-hour marathon and human performance;
- Periodizing carbohydrate availability for adaptation and performance;
- Unique case studies: Olympic champions and the impact of sport science on performance;
- Fitness/performance testing;
- Evidence informed sports medicine; demystifying and demythifying the role of evidence;
- EKG Interpretation in Athletes (which was relevant to the current research I am involved in);
- And, of course, the cycling science poster session.
Presentations are one thing, but as we all know you can catch all types of sports science presentations on YouTube. And quite frankly, most of the findings presented at a conference such as the ACSM Annual Meeting will eventually get published - at least as abstracts. What really makes the ACSM Annual Meeting so great, at least for me, are the conversations you can have with presenters - sharing and debating ideas and making connections.
The caliber of people I end up talking with at ACSM always amazes me. I'm continually surprised by how approachable people are, and willing to talk about their research. Needless to say, it's much more productive and personal than trying to hold a conversation via email. And considering how busy researchers are, you'll be lucky if you can initiate an email conversation with many of them.
Next year the ACSM meeting is in San Diego and I already plan on being there. I've got a research proposal in the works, and I'm hoping to get some preliminary data and an abstract written by the fall deadline. If not, you can still count on me being there - eyes wide open like a kid in a candy store.
Jason Boynton M.S. is an exercise physiologist, researcher, USA Cycling level 1 certified coach, and elite level cyclist. His educational background includes a Masters in Exercise Physiology and an honors degree in Cell Biology & Physiology. He is currently a research specialist with the University of Wisconsin Medical School and owner of Boynton Coaching, LLC. Besides coaching and doing research, Jason enjoys writing about and presenting topics in science that are relevant to endurance athletes. Follow Jason at his blog, Twitter, or website.